Paul Schurick loves puppies, too. The defense rests.Irrepressible scamp and incidental former lieutenant governor of Maryland Michael Steele testified Thursday as a character witness for Paul Schurick, an adviser in former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich’s failed 2010 gubernatorial campaign who is in trouble for allegedly putting together an election-day robocall effort to drive down black turnout in the race. Schurick lined up a two-day flood of character witnesses including Steele and others (taking all comers, obviously!) who will talk about, oh who knows, the winsome glint of his eyes under the harvest moon? His unimpeachable church-goingness? And God, and the Bible? Pretty much his defense is trying to convince the jury that Schurick only approved the robocalls on accident because look at how Michael Steele is black, and he sure does like Shurick! Case closed. And with respect to the roboscript in question, there has probably never been a more noble defense of the idea of participatory democracy.

Just kidding! It’s completely terrible, of course. Three cheers for our new robo-constitution!

“Hello. I’m calling to let everybody know that Governor O’Malley and President Obama have been successful,” the call said. “Our goals have been met. The polls were correct, and we took it back. We’re OK. Relax. Everything’s fine. The only thing left is to watch it on TV tonight. Congratulations, and thank you.”

Hello, probable black person. Relax. Your black president, who is not even running for re-election this year, and his local sidekick have been successful in some unnamed enterprise. Go back to sleep. It’s going to be fine. Don’t fight this. Shhhh. SHHHHHHH.

At first glance, it might seem sort of suspicious that these calls only went out to Democratic voters in overwhelmingly black Baltimore and Prince George’s County. Not to mention that notes written two months before the election and later seized by the FBI did, in fact, show that an employee of Ehrlich campaign subcontractor Universal Elections, Inc. was scribbling the phrase “suppress turnout in black communities” smack-dab next to the number “100,000,” which looks sort of like the number “112,000,” which, guess what, is also how many robocalls were made on election night.

But before you go all predictably libtard, keep in mind that this same employee later testified that she was just too “lazy” to pop the floppy disk with Republicans’ numbers into the robocalling Suppressotron 1999. And Schurick’s defense is arguing that he didn’t even listen to the roboscript.

Teeny bit of a problem with that, though:

Special Agent John Poliks, an investigator for the state prosecutor’s office, testified that Schurick admitted to him that he authorized the robocall but denied that he had heard its contents on Election Day. Poliks provided phone records to the jury to show a copy of the robocall had been sent to the voice mail on Schurick’s phone and that he had listened to his voice mail at 6:13 p.m. the day of the election. The robocalls began at 5:55 p.m. and ended at 8 p.m., phone records show.

Is this what it feels like to live in a Carl Hiaasen subplot? Also, quick question: are you supposed to laugh or just immediately get cancer when you hear that Michael Steele is somebody’s actual character witness? [Baltimore Sun]

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  • OCcupied_Surf_Serf

    Poliks provided phone records…copy of the robocall had been sent to the voice mail on Schurick’s phone…listened to his voice mail at 6:13 p.m. the day of the election…robocalls began at 5:55 p.m. and ended at 8 p.m

    Cause there was no other way he could of heard this first? mp3?? His mistress's phone???

    • Mic check!

    • Crowe2011

      I think the point is more that he definitely heard that his campaign was running RoboCalls claiming to be from another party with a good hour and a half worth of the calls still to go and he did nothing to try and stop it. So even if, in the unlikely event he didn't actually hear it before 6:13pm he still deserves to have an electoral law named after him.

  • Michael Steele: "Some of my best friends are Republicans."

    • spinozasgod

      my only friends are republicans…..and they're all white……

    • Ramon X

      Michael Steele: "Some of my best friends are black."

  • hagajim

    Michael Steele and character – two things you don't often see together.

    • DaRooster

      Not without a Horrible slid in there somewhere…

  • Indiepalin

    Where the white voters at?

  • smitallica

    "Y'all come!"

    "Except the n****rs. You stay home."

  • SorosBot

    It's especially goofy since whether or not Ehrlich is racist is not at issue in the case; he could just be a selfish sociopathic douchebag who tried to suppress the black vote for purely cynical desire for personal gain.

  • Goonemeritus

    Can Republicans be classified as a distinct race? If so I’m worried that my views are becoming intolerant and kind of racist.

    • Biff

      I would prefer extinct.

  • Not intending to commit a crime has always been a valid defense. "I pointed the gun at him and pulled the trigger but I didn't intend to kill him, you honor"

    • BerkeleyBear

      Well, under the right circumstance you could argue a lack of intent as a defense to murder, but you'd still go to jail on a manslaughter charge in the overwhelming number of cases, even if the jury bought it.

  • BigDumbRedDog

    Really? The "some of my best friends are black" defense stands up in court?

    • chicken_thief

      In this case, it would be "one of my…."

  • Joshua Norton

    My first thought when I hear the name Michael Steele is "Rainman without the math skills".

  • ThundercatHo

    "I have personally seen him eating ribs, fried chicken and watermelon. Plus he likes grape drank."

    • chicken_thief

      And for Halloween, his favorite costume is to dress up as Mr. Bojangles!

    • Don't forget teh mac & cheese!11!!!!1!1!

  • Wilcoxyz

    They doubled down. The same two ass clowns (Steele, Ehrlich) pulled a stunt in 2006 in which they bussed in the poors (blacks) from Philly to hand out fliers suggesting the good negroes of the same two places – inner city Baltimore, Prince George County – vote for the two republicans because the bogus pamphlet suggested they were endorsed by many prominent black politicians. At least they're consistent!

    • BerkeleyBear

      And Steele and the rest of the GOP keep spreading the apocryphal stories of how he was shamefully mistreated by Dems (the horrible OREO INCIDENT) as proof that that it is liberals who are the real racists.

    • GOPCrusher

      I can't wait to see the wacky shenanigans the RNC has planned, between now and November.

  • prommie

    That message is so long, what was the plan, they would bore potential voters to death, or just keep them hanging on the phone listening until the polls closed? A better script for suppressing black turnout would be a short and simple message, like "We have put your special bonus welfare check in your work shoes." Then of course all the blacks would spend the rest of the day trying to find their work shoes.

  • chicken_thief

    A little off topic, but has Steele cleared his dog love/engagement/possible marriage with Santorum?

  • Surprising Paul Schurick could get Steele to testify, given he turned down Steele's robo call idea to invite the blacks out to their neighborhood tittie bar.

  • Mahousu

    If racially-targeted bogus election-day robocalls are outlawed, then …

    Wait, they are outlawed? Uh, oops.

  • Q. What happens when you get a bunch of Republican governors all in the same room?
    A. Watered-down workers rights; reduced negotiablity of teachers' contracts; and I'm sorry, I couldn't catch your question b/c the wheels of injustice are grinding so loud I've become among the deaf being led by the deaf.

    Elected leaders turn a deaf ear to the message their constituents have been flaying at various Capitol steps; so it should not surprise me that they produce promethean-level FAIL when trying to sugar-coat brazen tactics even now that it's succumbed to legal scrutiny. I'm not sure I should even be more surprised at the bipartisan effort to clear Schurick's name, given the legion of corruption that appears to recruit underscrupled stooges from either party.

  • tcaalaw

    The ad with Steele and the French bulldog deserves some sort of place in a permanent display of campaign ad WTF moments.

    • widestanceshakedown

      Villain pet fail, due to the fact even the pooch knows Steele's just the village idiot.

  • paris biltong

    Robocall to Mr. Shurick's witnesses: "Hi, thank you all for volunteering to testify, but you can stay home and relax. The complaint was dismissed. Have a drink, it's on me."

  • testified that she was just too “lazy” to pop the floppy disk with Republicans’ numbers into the robocalling Suppressotron 1999

    She was too busy lining up the team building meetings at the local hot lesbian/tranny strip bars for Steele and Schurick.

  • HobbesEvilTwin

    Fucking amateurs.

    These guys are a poor man's Karl Rove or Kent Blackwell.

  • CthuNHu

    We can haz Foxnooz kuvridge nao? No? Too bizzy kuvrin voter frod?

  • e_z

    Time for the Supremes to declare Robo calls to be people. Problem solved. Case dismissed.

  • SayItWithWookies

    So this is a massive and blatant attempt at voter fraud, since it's intended to keep eligible voters from the polls, right? Well then all the Republicans should be completely up in arms about this — I'm sure Michael Steele was all, "This is the worst possible thing that a person could do in a democracy," right? Hello? Anyone? Bueller?

  • Tommmcattt

    Michael Steele is really my favorite comedy act of the past few years. There's a kind of Fawlty Towers vibe to him. It's the kind of elegant farce you don't see much of nowadays…he's an idiot, but a genteel idiot. Plus, I have to congratulate the guy on one thing: he really has lovely skin, doesn't he? Look how smooth and supple. I bet rubbing his head would be like rubbing a newborn baby's ass. I wonder what his secret is? Cocoa butter? Fish Oil? Human Placenta?

    Whatever it is, it's really working. As did his plan to secure a cushy pundit job and go into semi-retirement, which- as far as I can reason out- was the operating principle behind how he ran the Republican Party.

    • LesBontemps

      Meh. Muppet Michael Steele on The Daily Show was just as funny.

  • BerkeleyBear

    The script reads like it was trying to be cute and avoid the law by not mentioning the actual election, so someone could later claim it was not their intent to influence anyone, it just worked out that way. Notice how it never clarifies the "goals" that have been met, or specifically says anything about voting. Of course, that just makes it more damning when the memos come out showing an intent to use it to suppress votes.

    BTW, this is the sort of "legal reasoning" that has been at the root of just about every major fiasco in government or business for at least 80 years – from the Supreme Court convincing itself that rounding up Japanese Americans after Pearl Harbor wasn't racially motivated to the idea that credit default swaps and mortgage backed securities didn't need significant government oversight because no one would be so greedy and short sighted as to blow up the fucking world economy. Not to defend it in any way, but it has an illustrious pedigree.

  • Well, who did you think he was going to call as a character witness? Riense fucking Priebus?

  • Antispandex

    A man who would vouchsafe that another was not a racist, because he had aquaintances that did not belong to the same racial category, may be using rhetorical slight of hand…..OR, he could be a racist prick himself. It's a tough call.

  • arcane_allusion

    As a resident of PG County I got one of these calls on election day. At the time I thought, "What kind of retard would pay for a call like that?"

    Now I know.

  • Walkinwiddaking

    Hey, sometimes being an Uncle Tom pays off.

  • Hey conservatives! Found some of that election fraud you all keep screaming about. I am sure this is being run on Fox "news" 24/7, right?

  • Negropolis

    Can you still call someone a sell-out when there isn't even fuckin' money involved?

  • ttommyunger

    Michael Steele: the white Herman Cain.

  • Michael Steele is in a new non-partisan documentary coming out in the next few months called FEAR OF A BLACK REPUBLICAN. Professor Cornel West, former Senator Edward Brooke of Massachusetts and Tavis Smiley are in it too. This film could add to the discussion in a positive way.

  • flamingpdog

    More than a dozen witnesses, including former Democratic Gov. Marvin Mandel, vouched for Schurick's character.

    Convicted felon Marvin Mandel vouched for Schurick's character? What, zombie former MD governor Spiro T. Agnew wasn't available?

  • AmericanBeauty

    If this was a Carl Hiaasen novel, the idiot perpetrators would suffer deserved justice, at the hands of an intrepid reporter, a sexy female who had been done wrong by one of the idiots, and Skink, who in between cooking roadkill, flirting with the lady, and quoting literary greats, would finish them off in ways commensurate with their sins.

    In other words, no such luck … :(

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